Oregon Lottery wagering revenue up 58%
The Oregon Lottery has reported a 58% jump in wagering revenue of $44.5m in August, according to a preliminary report to the Lottery Commission. This is the lottery’s highest revenue ever, one-third higher than the previous record set in 2019.
Chuck Baumann, spokesman for the Oregon Lottery, says the high revenue is important for the lottery’s purpose. “It’s what the mission of the lottery is, to earn a maximum profit for the state,” he says, “but commensurate with the public good.”
The record haul comes amid a reexamination of whether lotteries prey upon the poor.
A study from the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism this month found that the Oregon Lottery and its peers target communities of color and people with low education and income.
Oregon is heavily dependent on lottery dollars. The lottery is the second-largest source of state funding, after income taxes. Lottery revenues fund public schools, state park enhancements, Outdoor School, and some veterans services. Legislators also like to use lottery bonds for projects in their districts, such as the $12 million Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) secured in 2017 to renovate the Salem YMCA.